Anthony Buzzard hosts Dr. James McGrath

New video. Looks interesting.

Dr James McGrath comments

“Here is the video recording of the conversation I had with Anthony Buzzard yesterday about Christology, monotheism, and related subjects. I talk about how I came to a personal faith and ended up studying the things that I did, and explaining my views on the Christologies in the letters of Paul and the Gospel of John.

I hope you enjoy the video, and that you’ll listen in next Friday as we try to resume it where we left off, hopefully without any similar technical difficulties!”



Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Christianity

5 replies

  1. This is a very important conversation between Anthony Buzzard and James McGrath which provides some hope that Christianity may be able to undergo a “second reformation” and eject unnecessary baggage of false and innovated Trinitarian doctrines, and return to a more Jewish based rational understanding of the scripture, which includes a firm belief in the Absolute Oneness of God (as affirmed in the Shema), and an understanding of Jesus as the fully human agent of the one God. I like Buzzards approach to the scripture which aims to return to the vital basic Abrahamic belief in the unitary nature of God in common with Muslim and Jewish understandings. I think if Christians would do this, there would be a lot less misunderstandings, argument, debate, and differences between Christians and their Jewish and Muslim Cousins.

    As Buzzard says in the discussion, Christians have unnecessarily complicated things and made a mess of the Bible, which is not really helpful in relating to others within the Abrahamic faith, or in interpreting the scripture in its correct historical sense. He further states that McGraths book helps to make the case (starting, with synoptics and going through Gospel of John and writings of Paul) that it is quite “unnecessary to split the shema and include Jesus within it.” Buzzard quote: “We should go back to the Shema and just leave it there, Jesus was not a Trinitarian.”

    Keegan Chandlers huge tome of a book also comes to the same conclusion that Jesus was a Unitarian monotheist, which may indicate that more and more Christians are coming to see Jesus as a monotheist servant of the One Unitarian God. This seems to be a vindication of the Islamic and Qur’anic understanding of who Jesus was.

    Unfortunately I think that the Bible is still nebulous and confusing for the lay Christian and it will be hard for Christian scholars to convince the lay Christian of the need for reinterpretation in light of critical studies. It will be an uphill struggle, if not impossible to purify Christianity of all false beliefs, doctrines and dogma which have misled and confused Christians for so many generations. It will be even harder for Christians to admit to themselves that the Jewish interpretation of scriptures and the Islamic understanding of Jesus were more historically correct than their own interpretations.

    These developments are a step in the right direction, but rather than wait around for another thousand years for Christians to fully parse all of this out, and probably still end up with confusion, I prefer the clarity of the perfect Unitarian monotheism held by the historical Jesus as reflected in the pure Qur’an and the teachings of Islam.

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    • One important question I have in relation to the discussion between Buzzard and McGrath, is this: Without an already established Divine Law, and Guidance (due to Christian rejection of the Law) what mechanism is there to assure that Christians will uniformly agree on same beliefs in the future, especially if there is a shift from Trinitarianism to Unitarianism? This is a huge theological shift which entails a lot of doctrinal and interpretational reform, which has the potential to cause mass confusion among Christians. All of which leads to the follow up question of what future innovated false beliefs might be born out of a confusing and contradicting NT to replace old and rejected false doctrines?

      I think that Christians have already sealed their own fate by disregarding the message that was originally sent to Prophet Jesus, and subsequently picking and choosing verse and chapter, to support innovated dogma and doctrine. This has only served to separate and fracture Christianity as a whole ever since and honestly, I don’t think that will ever change.

      The Qur’an ominously highlights this problem and states that Christians have been doomed to internal disagreement with each other will never be able to reunify around any single belief in the future:

      “And from those who call themselves Christians, we took their covenant, but they have abandoned a good part of the message that was sent unto them. So we planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the day of resurrection; And Allah will inform them of what they used to do.” (Qur’an 5:14)

      If Christians cannot even agree today, on their most central and basic doctrine – Trinitarianism vs. Unitarianism – often arguing amongst themselves on this issue with enmity and even at times hatred….then the word of the Qur’an has been proven true.

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    • For hundreds of years, Christians were forced under bodily threat of harm and persecution not to question the doctrines of the Roman church. The protestant reformation, ejected a hierarchal clergy, but failed to cleanse Christianity of the innovated false doctrines of the Roman Church including the doctrines of Trinity, deity of Christ, atonement by blood of the Cross, doctrine of original sin, faith based redemption and Paul’s Gospel of freedom from the Law. These doctrines were absorbed into a now cross contaminated (no pun intended) Protestantism.

      Now that there is no fear of physical threat to bar Christians from questioning and rethinking their own religion in light of modern NT historical critical scholarship, it seems that the time is ripe to right the wrongs of the past and attempt a “second reformation” which will bring the church back into line by rejecting some or all of the innovated doctrines which disagree with and separate it from the two sister Abrahamic faiths. It seems that this is what Buzzard and others like him may have in mind.

      Christians must surely know by now that Jews and Muslims will never accept their false mythology and irrational Christian doctrines which are clearly seen as innovation and misinterpretation. Rather than spending so much time, effort and money attacking, criticizing, slandering and debating Islam and Judaism, in tireless and yet almost fruitless effort to convert Jews and Muslims, wouldn’t it be much more productive to spend all that energy in first cleansing the house of Christianity of false beliefs? It seems to me that this self purification of the Christian religion would be a struggle that faithful Christians today would actively WANT to engage in. Shouldn’t modern NT critical textual scholarships findings on the teachings of the true historical Jesus factor in to the reforming of Christian doctrine today? When will Christians as a whole admit their collective interpretative errors? Don’t Christians today want to follow the religion OF Jesus rather than a mythical religion ABOUT Jesus?

      Though I must admit that if such a reformation ever did fully occur I don’t know what would be left of Christianity that wasn’t already found intact within Judaism or Islam.

      I guess one can dream!

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  2. I thought it was funny at the beginning when Anthony Buzzard humorously said Christians in England only go to Church in order to, “Hatch, Match, and Dispatch.”

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